In 2019, the Alabama Woman, Infants and Children (WIC) supplemental foods program will transition from a paper-based to an electronic-based delivery system known as eWIC. Food benefits automatically will be added onto a card, much like a debit card.
The phase-in of the Alabama Department of Public Health program begins in March of next year with five rollout dates set in different areas of the state each month between March and August of 2019. A map of the districts and rollout dates for each, can be found here.
From Dec. 1 of this year until Sept. 30, 2019, the department will be conducting a vendor readiness program for retailers, so no new applications will be accepted from prospective vendors after 5 p.m. Nov. 30. Applications received prior to that date will be processed. Existing vendors do have to complete the reauthorization process in 2019. If you are an existing vendor, Public Health should have notified you of this new system.
The electronic system should ease transactions with WIC participants as cash registers and point-of-sale systems automatically will identify allowed food items through the Universal Product Code (UPC) database. A PIN number will be used to verify participants, so cashiers don’t have to compare signatures. The Health Department said store accounts also will be credited within 24 to 48 hours for food benefits redeemed by participants, under this electronic system.